Tuesday, May 31, 2011

On ‘Retirements’, Misplaced Priorities and Crazy Selectors

Cricket is never free of controversy. As Sri Lanka blunder their way to a ridiculous test defeat (more on that to come), and Team Dhoni, the only real team, defeat Chris Gayle to take away the IPL championship, there has been plenty of other fun things happening under the carpet.
Afridi Retires
Pakistan cricket needs to redefine this word. According to most of us and our dear friend Google, it is “(an athlete) Ceasing to play competitively”. Ceasing, meaning that’s it, no more, zip, get the retirement cake. However, retirements in Pakistan are more like a self imposed holiday, often based around a money political problem and a resulting desperate plea for help. A real employer would tell them to find another job.
If only.
Shahid Afridi is the latest to ‘conditionally retire’ (!) until a new cricket board is in place. In other words, blackmail. Notice the strategic placement, Pakistan after this current Ireland series do not have a single confirmed tour in the months to come. A great time to ‘retire’ and create a ruckus against the PCB about your lack of money humiliation.
Tendulkar Refuses the West Indies
This is a wildly divided opinion. Some say if there is anyone in world cricket who is allowed to be choosy about his international tours, it is Sachin Tendulkar. Given all those dark years in the nineties he braved through single handedly, the man is allowed a break and special favors given his invaluable service to Indian cricket.
And then there are the other guys who go on to say that Tendulkar should be a role model for the game and pick international commitments over the IPL clown fest. This is twice he has done it, he gave up the last World Twenty 20 tournament after an IPL season, and now he is doing the same to rob the West Indian locals of a last glimpse at the man’s talents. How can a young Pollard learn to get his priorities right when the legends of the game are doing exactly the same thing? There can be no other motivation other than money, of which Tendulkar has plenty of surely.
This is the side of the fence that I also sit on. Where do you sit?
He sides with the Money Mumbai Indians © AFP
And Finally… The WCB Strike Again
And we thought the PCB had issues. Still no Chris Gayle or Shiv Chanderpaul, and only the ghost of Sarwan remains in the team. Despite the fact that their two best players are fit and able, as Gayle showed us in a brutal ‘in your face’ display at the IPL (the best thing by far the IPL had to offer), Gayle is still left out of the squad to face India. Now I am no cricket board, but surely I need a long hard look at myself if I am in complete refusal to pick the only two players who can win you matches.
Often left bemused and devoid of an answer, this time I do offer a solution.
Sack them all.
Make Gayle captain. Start again. … And hire Micheal Holding as a technical advisor.
Contributed by Varun Prasad
Original Post : The Cricket Musings

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Comings Soon: 5 IPL Movies

So the IPL is finally over… Sigh ! Thanks everybody and thank you Sachin !
Saurabh Tiwari is poster boy of IPL Bosses for finishing off with a DLF Maximum !
So now it is time for some entertainment.
And what way better than with some movies ?
Cricket and Cinema drive this nation crazy.
So here are 5 movies inspired by the IPL…
Coming Soon…

Pirate of the Caribbean

The Pirate 'Finally' Falls
Jilted by the West Indian Cricket board, an irate Christopher Henry wrecks Gayle storms in East Indian Cricket show piece. He slaughters the hapless bowlers before ‘Finally’ falling for the Super King’s guile ! He walks away with individual laurels even as the Super Kings celebrate.

The Mommy Returns

The Turbanator and The Mommy !
The Turbanator lifted the Mommy last time around. Still the Mommy went home without a win. The claim was they lost 160 millions in 2010. They wanted a sequel with a hope to rake in the moolah. This time too, The Mommy Returns; Empty-handed !

Father and Son

Father and Son
The Father and Son live in a world of their own; a gigantic world. They sell beer and fly Kingfisher with beautiful girls. The son has a ‘Dum Belle’ in tow. They even rope in the Pirate as their hit-man. But when it comes to the final hurdle, the King of good times falls in to bad times, the Prince becomes Pauper and the Belle sings “Dumb maaro Dumb”.


The Beastly Slinga !
The terrorized batsmen ran for safety to save their toes as the ‘Slinga’ went berserk through IPL. But may be he went weak in the knee during the final week. The Mommy returned home sad for the God !

The Hangover II

The Hangover Spills Over to Galleries !
What do you do when you already have a hit which has broken many records ? You make a sequel. But the trick is to make it bigger, better and more banging. This is exactly what Hangover II attempts, and manages competently. The Yellows had the Reds for a swallow. This will linger on for the Cricket Crazy Chennai fans ! This is the ‘Biggest Hit’ in Tamilnadu that doesn’t have Rajnikanth in it !

The End !

Govind Raj Shenoy for DieHard Cricket Fans

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Shane Warne And The Indian Love Affairs

There is just something about Shane Warne and India. The man seems to cause more of a stir there than even his own turf and the latest of the famous blondie’s debacle caps off a long series of unfortunate events. Lets take a trip down memory lane and rediscover some of the joys he has gone through.
The Baked Beans Affair of 1998
Warne may be an Indian household figure now, probably chugging down the butter naan and tikka masala with aplomb, but back track many years ago and he couldn’t eat a thing over there. Obviously a big crisis, Warne had fast tracked spaghetti and baked beans to be shipped over there, his famous quote was “I am really craving for some canned spaghetti on toast”. How dare those other wet blankets complain of petty issues like home sickness.
The Tendulkar Affair of 1998
This series was famous for Tendulkar and friends walloping the Australians around like it was all a big joke. Warne had developed a good reputation as a bowler by then, but India is the one place he never came close to conquering. The little master smacked him around in the brutal manner only seen by the little one back in those glory days. Warne in his career (as a bowler) was rarely made to look silly, here he was.
"You should have imported spinach instead" © AFP
The Bookies Affair of 1998
Well what a great year this was, three in a row! Warne this time got snapped with fellow pretty boy Mark Waugh for dealing illegally with bookies. He divulged weather and strategy information and was later fined. In terms of cricketing corruption this was probably his only black mark.
The Eden Gardens Affair of 2001
No controversies here, but a serious plundering. There is no need to recap the famous miracle victory over the Australians which included the Laxman 281. But lets pay attention to Warne’s nightmarish experiences. 34 overs, 1 wicket for a monstrous 152 runs at 4.47 runs an over. Embarrassingly bad, the highlights reel show Laxman and Dravid toying as if it was not the Golden Boy, but Goldilocks bowling.
The Ganguly Affair of 2008
Ah, one always savors a clash between two cocky and colorful characters of the game. The IPL was a successful time for Warne then, but not so during this incident. Unhappy with Ganguly not walking after a claimed catch, he went on to say “… Sourav asked the Indian umpire to go to the TV replay. That’s not in the spirit of the game so I was very, very disappointed with Sourav.” I find this pretty hilarious coming from Warne, who over the years loves to milk umpires and has had his fair share of stealing dodgy LBW and caught decisions.
The Beer Affair of 2009
A light incident, completely avoidable if not for Warne’s impressive ability to attract bad situations. Rather than turn away a spectators beer on the boundary rope, Warne decided to take a sip, in a world where nothing escapes the merciless eye of the camera. No excuses here, we all know the IPL was a big party, but the man could have at least played along with the gag and pretended to take it seriously, like the rest of the paycheck collectors.
The Hurley Affair of 2011
Look Shane, this is India. This is a land where strutting and dancing with the cheerleaders while attempting to look/dress like one is perfectly acceptable. We can thank ‘modern’ Bollywood for this, “Hey the NRI guys and Saif do it, so it must be totally cooool doood ya”? Thou shalt club, thou shalt drink, thou shalt strip down. But kissing your girlfriend in public! Utter disgrace! Learn the rules Mr Warne.
The Pitch Affair of 2011
And finally we have the inspiration of this article. To be honest this time I back Warne, apparently he wanted a spin friendly pitch (like blood from a stone), and he got duly laughed off by the dictator curator. A furious Warne vented, and copped a $50,000 USD fine for it. A completely ridiculous punishment of course, but surely by now Mr. Warne has learned to avoid being a show pony. Whats next, a Bollywood contract?
The love triangle cast is already secure. © AFP
Contributed by Varun Prasad
Original Post : The Cricket Musings

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tete-a-Tete with Gayle and Mithun

Chris Gayle, without doubt, the Man of the tournament.  He went shockingly unsold in the IPL 4 auctions due to confusions over his availability. An injury to Dirk Nannes and Gayle being rested by WICB for the series against Pak helped RCB to draft him into the squad. Until his arrival the RCB was in a dismal form but he turned it around, scoring a century in his very first match in IPL4 and he hasn’t looked back since. Playing 4-5 matches less than other players he already owns the orange cap, hit maximum sixes, scored 37 runs off an over, has taken wickets and what not.
Here is a video of Gayle and Mithun talking to DieHard Cricket & RCB Fan, Abhilash P after their last league match against the CSK on 22 May.
Abhilash P for DieHard Cricket Fans

Monday, May 23, 2011

Tete-a-Tete with Virat Kohli

Virat Kohli, the latest poster boy of Indian Cricket. During the last 2 years Virat has been the most consistent ODI player for India and has bowled over everyone with the kind of maturity and temperament he has shown given he is just 22. He has already led India to an U-19 WC win and been an integral part of the World Cup 2011 winning Indian team. He played an important innings in the WC final too, which people tend to forget as it gets overshadowed by Gambhir’s and Dhoni’s knocks.
Virat is also considered by many as the future Indian Captain and a player to lookout for. The fact that Virat was the only player retained by RCB after the IPL3 just reinforces the faith people have in him. He represents the confident young Indian generation which is ready to take on the world. Here is a video of Virat talking to DieHard Cricket Fans, Abhilash P and his friend, telling about his role model, favourite hangout places and more.
Abhilash P for DieHard Cricket Fans

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Indian Plumpier League: The Bigger IPL !

Disclaimer: This post is a figment of imagination of the writer. This is purely a fun article and doesn’t intend to be derogatory about any of the honorable people mentioned. No way does this betray any maliciousness on part of the writer who himself is on the verge of being certified overweight.
No offense is meant about the well endowed men and women. I am ‘Broad‘-minded. When I say that, it should not be confused with the Narrow minded ICC Match Referee with an England Captain for a son.
From being Agarkar-like, time has managed to render me in the ‘just under the overweight league’ with a BMI closing in on 25. I was never known for athleticism and that perhaps is why I preferred to play and follow Cricket. Not that I was any good at that. But Cricket still remains the only field game that still offers ‘Fat‘ chances to the physically over-endowed to hold their own against the likes of Jonty Rhodes and Keiron Pollard.
There was ‘Ample‘ evidence that Samit Patel was dropped from England probables list due to the eschewed fitness standards set by the ECB. The now past India Coach had expressed concerns over ‘Overweight‘ Indian Cricketers. That was unfortunate. Just imagine if  weight or size did matter in the past, Sri Lanka would not have won their lone World Cup and England would not have won Ashes in 1987.
Here is an ode to those big ‘BIG‘ men who regaled us with their skills. Here we launch the “Indian Plumpier League” [IPL]. Let us take a look at those weighty teams and their leaders of ‘substance’. For those keen to play in the League, pound in all the pounds you can; more the merrier. The auction will strictly be held on the basis of Pounds. And all payments, hefty or otherwise will be made in Pounds too. A Pound for a Pound !
1] Chubby Supper Kings: With their love for heavy meals at night, the Chubby Kings lead from the front. So they have the Chubbiest Captain !
Leverlock, Stock and Barrel !
2] Belly Bare Devils: The Team from the Capital languishing at the bottom this season. Who can pick the spirits of this team ? Who else but the one with a belly that can scare the Devil ?
Belly that can Scare Devil !
3] Gol-Guppa Weight Ryders: Having either puny or fit skippers has been SRK’s idea of a Captain. That is why the team has never been ‘Stout‘ on field. But when you have a ‘Big Jesse’ for Captain, nobody meddles with them.
Just see Weight Ryder !
4] Binge’s 11 Fun-jab: For binge eating, binge drinking, fun and jabs, you need not look around. He is a ‘Legend’ in all. The Prince did ‘Eat’ them all up during the World Cup !
Eat all You-We can !
5] Chicken Gorgers: They can munch and gorge on anything and everything including bowling attacks and ‘Aloo Bondas’ of Hyderabad. A worthy skipper has to be a man of stature.
The BIGGEST Talent from Pakistan
6] Royal Chill-hangers Ampleore: They will just chill out on Royal Challenge and avenge all the defeats so far. The Mr. Cool of Lankan Cricket will ‘walk’ away with the Captaincy. Well, he always walked his runs.

'Run'atunga who always walked runs !
7] Boonie Warriors India: One of the all time great overweight Cricketers excelled in fielding with all his girth. He will be a Boon to any lowly placed team.

A Boon for the underdogs !
8] Cocky Tuskers Carousel: For the Cocky Mallu who walks without a care like a tusker, they finally have a merry-go-Round of tuskers. The Cockiest of them all will lead the team. Gatting, Batting, Fatting and Swatting [of Pakistani Umpires] all allowed.

Gatting Batting Fatting !
9] Bum-boy Indians: For those who love everything in big chunks. The most Powarful man in Indian Cricket will lead from the front. His style and substance will make him a ‘Roll-model’ !

Powar Power !
10] Rotundistan Royals: A Patel from England alone qualifies to lead the bunch of Rotundistan Royals. To Sum it all, will get justice at last. This completes the ensemble of ten teams.

Sum of it all Patel !
This Obese version of IPL will begin as soon as we manage to find enough players plumper than the plump to complete 10 teams. Anyone interested to join the weight-wagon, don’t wait, just shoot your applications. Weight is the only criteria !
Some patented attractions:
Cheer girls will be replaced with more ample and attractive ‘Beer Babes’. Buxom is the word !

Buxom Beer Babes !
Concessions on ticket prices to those weighing above 100kg. They will be accommodated in the exclusive ‘Century Club’.
Beer, beef and all kind of food served at subsidized rates before, during and even after the match.
Log on to our website for more details:
Govind Raj Shenoy for DieHard Cricket Fans

Friday, May 20, 2011

On The Martin Crowe Comeback (Seriously)

Cricket is like a Saharan trek without a water bottle these days. Its hard to find a thirst quencher, given that most of the cricketing news is drowned by the hot air of the IPL. It seems that television viewers and internet junkies alike are nearing the end of their patience for it, even I forgot to check out Cricinfo for half a day (horrors!). But, then something caught my eye, this headline:
“Crowe Announces Comeback at 48″.
Come again? Russell Crowe making a comeback to Neighbors is more believable. Admittedly he is starting at club cricket level, with aspirations to make it to first class cricket. Seems he is 392 runs short of 20,000 first class runs. Well if he somehow manages to knock off those runs against guys half his age, then good on him, miracles do happen. But even all this is not what inspired me to write this article, here is the real kicker. Says Mr Crowe:
“Hey! If Ganguly can do it, anyone can do it!”
The cricketing equivalent to The Fonz. © Cricinfo.com
Ah, the Crowe vs Ganguly debate once again. For those of you who aren’t clued in, Ganguly led the team to a horrible defeat at the hands of New Zealand (well, mainly dodgy pitches) in 2002/2003. They lost the seven match ODI series 5-2, and the test series 2-0. During that time, the merry band of NZ commentators, led by Crowe, were ripping into Ganguly, singling him out as brash, arrogant and a liability for the team.
Maybe he was cocky, fair game, but Crowe fails to realize that Ganguly’s worst patch as a batsman was those years as captain. But despite that it was his alliance with John Wright that really turned Indian cricket around. It was Ganguly who backed the Harbhajan’s and the Yuvraj’s and got them through their golden 2003 world cup run, among famous overseas test victories.
Ganguly as a batsman achieved far more than almost all New Zealand batsman. His ODI stats in particular show off a whopping 22 centuries.
Batting and fielding averages (Ganguly) in Tests and ODIs
Crowe, who is widely regarded as one of NZ’s best in history, has this record:
Batting and fielding averages (Crowe) in Tests and ODIs
Roughly equal, Crowe a better test batsman, Ganguly a better ODI one. Belittling Ganguly is completely uncalled for, it was then and it still is now. I can even recall several occasions of him smashing the New Zealand bowlers around like it was a joke.
Then again Crowe goes on to call Geoff Howarth’s coaching ‘a joke’ and he apparently had issues with Lee Germon and John Wright over the years. In the New Zealand scale he can talk with a bit of authority. On the world scale he hardly measures up. A decent cricketer with a bucket load of excuses, the only legitimate one being a bad knee.
A comeback at 48. Who’s arrogant now.
Contributed By: Varun Prasad
Original Post: The Cricket Musings